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Namiki Metal Falcon


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40 replies to this topic

#1 tandaina

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 17:30

A note before I start: reviews are subjective. So this is my experience. My grading may or may not match yours.

Appearance & Design - 8
Posted Image
Untitled by JoAndRoses, on Flickr

This is of course very subjective. But the black metal is a little, well... Boring. It is plain old black, not velvety deep, not slightly sparkly. Just plain black. The silver/chrome accents ARE nice and it does make a professional looking pen. I actually LIKE the nib shape. I think it fits the falcon name, very beeky. ;) In a good way. Elegant and modern. But the section just looks to chunky for me. The whole pen could use some slimming and a little softening for my preference. Just a little masculine.

Construction & Quality - 9
This pen is built like a tank. It FEELS like it doesn't need to be babied, like i could use it every day for a hundred years and it would still work flawlessly. I cannot fault quality at ALL. Fit and finish is lovely, everything really just feels like a well designed and executed pen.

Weight & Dimensions - 6
Again, this is subjective. For ME the pen is just a little too heavy. Posted it is WAY too heavy (and I like to post or I lose caps). My poor small hands get tired. And the section is just a bit too thick. I write 90% of the time with antique pens and their sections tend to be small and vase shaped. They are wider just at the nib, and where they connect to the body but taper nicely between to what is for ME a comfortable diameter. And the shape keeps my fingers in place. No such help here. If you like a thicker section you'll grade this higher. If you hate a "lip" on your section you'll grade this higher.

Me, I find myself gripping the pen too tightly because of the weight and size.

Nib & Performance - 8 (but sometimes 6)
So this is a weird one. I WANT to give this pen a solid 8.99999. But I can't. Again, 90% of the time I use vintage pens with semi-flex nibs. I had pretty much given up buying modern pens. So a modern pen with decent semi flex? LET ME AT IT. And it does (though I feel the Fine would show more line variation). It flexes a nice semi-flex line. It requires more pressure than my old nibs but it needs breaking in. I have a feeling it will get easier to flex as it ages.

However... Sometimes it just goes randomly dry, even with no flex. I'll be writing along happily and suddenly there is no ink flowing. A little tap of the nib on the paper, a little change of pen angle and back it comes. But it happens enough to make annoying. A pen of this price point should not have flow issues, and a flex pen CERTAINLY shouldn't. I don't have an explanation yet. Normally it is good and wet, the nib isn't starving. Until it suddenly is. So while it is writing well I'd give this a solid 8 or 9, the frequency of drying drops it (for now) to a 6. Sadly.

Filling System & Maintenance - 7
Nothing special here. it uses a converter, an interesting one. A push button plunger, the converter was a surprise to me. And I wonder if maybe the converter isn't releasing ink consistently, causing the drying issue? But the converter just plain works as far as filling is concerned!

Cost & Value - 7
Here I have a hard time rating this pen. Normally these go for $240. Which frankly I wouldn't pay for this pen. It is just too much for a pen that isn't a bit more flexi and that has skipping issues. But I got this for quite a bit less than that. So for what I paid? GREAT value. I think I'd have to say the METAL Falcon is not a great cost/value for me, but the more reasonably priced plastic bodied pen WOULD be worth it. And if the weight continues to be an issue I may actually look at getting a regular Falcon.

Conclusion - 7
That's a pretty good score given that I've only got ONE pen in my collection I would give a 10, out of quite a few very nice pens. Just one 10 (which means a perfect pen for me). So to get a 7 is right up there. If it weren't for the skipping issue it would be a solid 8 and if it were a little better suited to my hand, AND it didn't skip it would be a very solid 9. I really enjoy writing with it and I'm hoping once I get used to a heavier pen (most of my pens are antique Pelikans and are nearly weightless to use.)

If semi-flex fits your hand writing I would suggest this fellow, though I'd personally skip the extra cost for the metal. But I'd own one (and maybe more) if ONLY to support a modern pen maker actually doing semi-flex.


If ANYONE has a suggestion to help the skipping problems I would greatly appreciate it. I would like to make this pen a daily writer, I want to love it totally. If you've managed to tweak a Falcon to not skip I'm all ears!

Posted Image
Untitled by JoAndRoses, on Flickr

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#2 Uncle Red

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 17:50

I just got to handle the resin version an I know what you mean, it's not like vintage fex but it's almost there. Did you get the metal version because of the bigger converter? Some ink/pen/paper combinations lead to an air bubble forming in a converter just behind the feed. If you dislodge the bubble then the pen starts writing again.

#3 tandaina

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 17:53

I got the metal version because Greg Muniskin tossed it up on his site for almost $80 less than usual price. I snapped it up. ;)

I may end up selling it for the lighter version but I'm going to keep writing with it and see if my hand adapts to the slightly larger size and weight. I really prefer the tough metal, and the silver trim. If the converter is larger that's also good. So then the question is, how to help prevent that darn bubble forming? Any inks that work better? I'm using Pilot Iroshizuku right now.

#4 mhphoto

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 14:28

Great review! Pretty much mirrors my experiences, but without the sudden ink starvation. I loved my (red) metal Falcon. I think people consistently knock these pens because they're not vintage wet noodles, but the end result of an experienced hand using a broken-in Falcon is some gorgeous and striking line variation.

Waterman 52 line variation? No. Waterman 52 flexibility? No. Waterman 52 feel? No.

But it doesn't have to be a W52, and it shouldn't be. Doesn't change the fact that it's a fantastic pen. But $240 is too much for it. I bought mine used, but I don't know if I could pay full price for a new one, not even the reportedly excellent EF nib.

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#5 Frank C

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 18:04

Sounds like you were seduced by the $80 off list. The metal Falcon also comes in an interesting sapphire, burgundy or brown color. The metal Falcon is 33.3g v. 18.3 for the resin Falcon, although the resin Falcon only comes in black. The resin pen also uses a CON-50 converter as opposed to the fancy CON-70 in the metal version. The resin Falcon also sell for about $144 in this country. Any falcon nib is well-suited for additional customization. These are considered one of the best modern nibs for Spencerian handwriting. See this link: Pilot Falcon Spencerian.

Iroshizuku is one of the better-flowing inks out there. If your pen continues to have the ink-flow problem, you can send it back to Mr. Minuskin for a tune-up. It sounds to me like you would be happier with a resin Falcon with the fine or extra-fine nib. I have one and I like it very much. I am not able to write beautiful Spencerian Script with it, but it is not the pen's fault.
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#6 Montblanc owner and lover

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 18:06

just excuse me but i think that the metal falcon is made by pilot and not namiki(i know it's the same brand)so the resin falcon is namiki and the metal is pilot.
A people can be great withouth a great pen but a people who love great pens is surely a great people too... Pens owned actually: MB 146 EF;Pelikan M200 SE Clear Demonstrator 2012 B;Parker 17 EF;Parker 51 EF;Waterman Expert II M,Waterman Hemisphere M;Waterman Carene F and Stub;Pilot Justus 95 F. Nearly owned: MB 149 B(Circa 2002);Conway Stewart Belliver LE bracket Brown IB.

#7 Frank C

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 18:15

just excuse me but i think that the metal falcon is made by pilot and not namiki(i know it's the same brand)so the resin falcon is namiki and the metal is pilot.


You are correct. I would note that the nib on my resin Pilot Falcon has "Namiki" printed on the nib and cap. My understanding is that they use the name "Namiki" for their higher end pens, and "Pilot" for the lower end pens. They are all made in the same factory and to the same quality standards.

(edited for content)

Edited by Frank C, 16 January 2013 - 19:10.

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel
I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

#8 tandaina

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 18:52

I find the Namiki/Pilot identification on the Falcon pens utterly backward. Namiki is SUPPOSED to be the high end line... But they put it on the cheaper of the Falcon pens. And put Pilot on the $200+ version. Makes no sense. Yes mine says Pilot, but if I think Falcon I think Namiki. *shrug*

The weight is really growing on me. I'm getting used to it and not finding it bothers me nearly as much after a couple days. And the advantages of having a metal body for holding up to rough travel is something I can appreciate.

#9 Gloucesterman

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 20:00

FYI, just to note that the Namiki Falcon was produced in burgundy and (I'm pretty sure) blue quite a while ago. Having owned a burgundy one for sometime, it's fun to get that strange look when someone recognizes the Falcon and asks about the color!

Kind of cool, especially because it means the other person knows a lot about this type of pen.

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#10 rwilsonedn

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 20:03

I would suggest at least e-mailing Greg Muniskin about the interrupted flow issue. (I'm assuming that you have already tried the standard ammonia-solution flush to eliminate little particles and oily manufacturing residues in the feed and converter.) If the flush didn't solve the problem, that suggests that there may be some fragments in the feed that occasionally blocks the flow. I'm sure Greg would be happy to look into it (no pun intended, maybe). Particularly if the pen is starting to grow on you and your hand is getting used to the greater force that the Falcon nib requires, I would ask him about it. I have a cheaper Falcon, and it definitely grew on me: from "this is OK semi-flex for a modern pen" to "I'm kinda getting used to this" to "Ya know, I really just like writing with this pen."
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#11 nm4

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 21:05

I have a metal Falcon and I enjoy it tremendously. Mine is a fine nib and honestly it's the smoothest pen I own with this fine of a line. I own custom ground pens by some well known nibmeisters that are not this smooth.

As for the value proposition of the pen, ultimately I think that's a personal decision. To me it's well worth the $240 and I'll try to illustrate my thinking:

1) The Lamy 2K is a pen I often enjoy using. It runs around $150 these days. For $90 more the Pilot has a smoother nib, a metal body, and a bit of flex in the nib. Doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

2) Compared to a Pelikan m800 the Pilot does give up the piston-filling mechanism but I find the writing experience superior (at least compared to F/EF nibs). The Pilot Falcon has a smoother nib than the Pelikan F/EF. Additionally it has more flex. And while the Pilot does use a converter the Con70 is about as good as converters get. And the pen is significantly cheaper than an m800 too.

3) Compared to any of the modern Bexley pens with a gold nib the Pilot is again cheaper and has more flex to the nib.

4) Lastly, I feel the metal Falcon is worth the $100 premium over the resin Falcon. It's a larger, heavier pen that feels more comfortable in the hand. The Rhodium plated furniture looks better to me. The converter is better. It's kind of like comparing a Pelikan m400 to an m800...opinions will vary but I don't think any represent a poor value.

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#12 mhphoto

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 21:27

This thread has me jonesing for a Falcon again! I sold mine to fund some other (less fun) pens.

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#13 DanF

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 22:12

There is a common misconception that the Falcon has a flex or semi-flex nib - it doesn't.
The Falcon, despite the springiness of the nib, is not designed to give much in the way of line variation, just a soft, springy ride. The skips you point out is what is known as "railroading", and is caused by ink starvation because the feed can't keep up with the ink demand - again, because it was not designed to do this. By forcing the nib to flex more than it was designed to do, you run the risk of springing it, bending it out of shape. There are threads about this happening to others.

For the price of a standard Falcon, you could buy a Waterman 52 from the good old days that was actually designed to flex, and has a feed that will keep pace with the nib. It may still need some nib work if the tipping is worn though. Or you could send the pen back and have Greg customize it to allow it to flex more, but he would also have to modify the feed to allow it to keep up with the nib, or you will have to write slowly. John Matishaw also has what he calls the Spencerian mod, where he grinds the nib to a needle point, and adds flex. These all have their limits though, and won't compare to a full flex Waterman.

Dan

Edited by DanF, 16 January 2013 - 22:12.

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#14 tandaina

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 22:14

Yeah the value bit is subjective.

And I'm sure my stable of pens affects how I see the Falcon. I have 6 pens inked right now. The Falcon and then an assortment of... Pelikan and Montblanc. :P

So the poor Falcon is the only pen that ISN'T a piston filler. I think its the only $200+ pen I own that is a cartridge converter. I just sort of EXPECT a pen in that price range to use a piston mechanism. This is of course MY lens and is an expectation created by the pens I've learned to love. I've GOT tons of filling mechanisms, but the pens that have stayed in rotation and bumped all other pens out.. Are antique Pelikan and Montblanc pistons. The Falcon would make such an ELEGANT piston filler.

Like I said, subjective and my view may be totally skewed. ;)

#15 DET

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 22:29

Out of curiosity, what was your Perfect 10 pen?

#16 tandaina

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 22:37

DanF, actually no. It is NOT railroading. There is a railroad in the example but that's not what I'm talking about when I say "skipping."

I am not a flex newbie. I have quite a few flex pens. Skipping is not railroading (though the Falcon WILL railroad as will all flex pens when pushed too far too fast). This is regular old fashioned skipping. Where even UNFLEXED the nib just doesn't have any ink. And you can be writing a whole sheet of paper without ANY flex at all and it will still do it. It is doing it less though, so I suspect there was some residue involved that the ink is dissolving. I'll give it a good wash when the converter runs out and ink it up again and see.

I have a modern Waterman nail nib that does the same kind of skipping.

I am by no means an expert as many here may be. But I USE pens with nibs that are nails (well when I have to, don't like them), soft (which give, but do NOT spread tines), semi flex, flex, etc. I'm aware of the differences. I'm aware that within each category there are differences as well. I've got two Pelikan "semi-flex" nibs which give decidedly different grades of flex. But both I'd put within the zone of semi-flex. The Falcon is semi-flex. It is NOT a wet noodle, but it is just as flexible when measuring LINE VARIATION as my vintage semi-flex Pelikan 140. Just as flexible. It requires more pressure, yes. But I don't give a fig about pressure. What matters to me when I choose nibs is "can I safely flex this nib to provide line variation?" If the answer is yes then it is SOME grade of flex nib. If the answer is no it is not.

The AMOUNT of line variation then tells me where along the flex continuum that nib falls and therefore how it will get used. I have vintage semi-flex nibs that used with the same ink on the same paper by the same person you would NOT be able to tell apart from the Falcon. Therefore I shall call her a semi-flex nib.

If you want to get into semantics based on measuring pressure that's just way beyond my interest. I write with semi-flex nibs because they suit my penmanship. The Falcon suits my penmanship. It is in that context that I use the term semi-flex with ANY of my pens.

#17 tandaina

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 22:41

OK had a couple people ask. My perfect 10 pen is Montblanc 244G with a fine flexible (seriously LUSCIOUSLY semi-flexible) nib. The weight/size are perfectly balanced for my hand to the point I actually forget about the pen entirely and just think about what I want to write. The piston filler is great, lots of capacity, and that nib. Oh that nib! The whole pen is just perfect for ME. Probably just a regular ole antique pen to many but it just FITS my hand sublimely. And has never, not once, skipped the whole time I've owned it. No hard starts, no nib drying, no balks. And its so wet I think you'd have to be in danger of springing the nib to get it to railroad either.

#18 Frank C

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 22:50

As a general rule, I prefer most any filling mechanism to a cartridge-converter. A c/c pen seems to be less like a fountain pen to me. Part of the reason I own and use fountain pens is that I appreciate the craftsmanship. A plastic converter doesn't require much craftsmanship.

Having said that , I do appreciate converters for several reasons. They are much easier to clean and are even disposable if damaged. I tend to use converters with the more concentrated inks like Noodler's that might clog a pen. I especially enjoy using Japanese fountain pens; almost all of them are c/c.
"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson "I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel
I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

#19 pmhudepo

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 00:09

OK had a couple people ask. My perfect 10 pen is Montblanc 244G with a fine flexible (seriously LUSCIOUSLY semi-flexible) nib. The weight/size are perfectly balanced for my hand to the point I actually forget about the pen entirely and just think about what I want to write. The piston filler is great, lots of capacity, and that nib. Oh that nib! The whole pen is just perfect for ME. Probably just a regular ole antique pen to many but it just FITS my hand sublimely. And has never, not once, skipped the whole time I've owned it. No hard starts, no nib drying, no balks. And its so wet I think you'd have to be in danger of springing the nib to get it to railroad either.


Like this one?

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Couldn't agree more! Wonderful pen.

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#20 mhphoto

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 00:52

DanF, actually no. It is NOT railroading. There is a railroad in the example but that's not what I'm talking about when I say "skipping."

I am not a flex newbie. I have quite a few flex pens. Skipping is not railroading (though the Falcon WILL railroad as will all flex pens when pushed too far too fast). This is regular old fashioned skipping. Where even UNFLEXED the nib just doesn't have any ink. And you can be writing a whole sheet of paper without ANY flex at all and it will still do it. It is doing it less though, so I suspect there was some residue involved that the ink is dissolving. I'll give it a good wash when the converter runs out and ink it up again and see.

I have a modern Waterman nail nib that does the same kind of skipping.

I am by no means an expert as many here may be. But I USE pens with nibs that are nails (well when I have to, don't like them), soft (which give, but do NOT spread tines), semi flex, flex, etc. I'm aware of the differences. I'm aware that within each category there are differences as well. I've got two Pelikan "semi-flex" nibs which give decidedly different grades of flex. But both I'd put within the zone of semi-flex. The Falcon is semi-flex. It is NOT a wet noodle, but it is just as flexible when measuring LINE VARIATION as my vintage semi-flex Pelikan 140. Just as flexible. It requires more pressure, yes. But I don't give a fig about pressure. What matters to me when I choose nibs is "can I safely flex this nib to provide line variation?" If the answer is yes then it is SOME grade of flex nib. If the answer is no it is not.

The AMOUNT of line variation then tells me where along the flex continuum that nib falls and therefore how it will get used. I have vintage semi-flex nibs that used with the same ink on the same paper by the same person you would NOT be able to tell apart from the Falcon. Therefore I shall call her a semi-flex nib.

If you want to get into semantics based on measuring pressure that's just way beyond my interest. I write with semi-flex nibs because they suit my penmanship. The Falcon suits my penmanship. It is in that context that I use the term semi-flex with ANY of my pens.


Well put!

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